3 Marketing Tactics Every Small Business Needs

When it comes to marketing and advertising your small business, you need to focus on more than just attracting new customers or clients. In fact, that’s the most expensive and difficult way to grow your business. Try using a mix of these three types of marketing tactics to get new clients and keep them coming back for more.

If you’re like most small business owners the majority of your marketing and advertising is focused on bringing in new business Maybe you’re doing a lot of networking…Or placing ads…Or cold calling…Or finding referral partners…Or all of these and more.

I call these “attraction” tactics because they attract new clients and customers. And they can be quite effective.

Entrepreneurs tend to use a lot of attraction tactics because that’s what everyone is most familiar with. Whether on TV or radio, the sides of buses, or in magazines and newspapers, we’re bombarded with ads that are nothing more than a catchy image and slogan plus a Web address. Pure attraction.

If all those big, successful companies are spending oodles of cash on attraction tactics, you probably should too. Right?

Well, yes and no. There are actually two other powerful types of tactics. And you need to use all three if you really want your business to grow.

The problems with attraction

I’ll be the first to say attraction tactics can be a valuable and effective part of any marketing plan. They get your name out there, create a sense of familiarity, and hopefully make your business memorable. The problem is that straight attraction tactics are usually the most expensive, and take the longest to generate results (IE sales).

Here’s why…

On average, it takes 7 times more money to get a new customer than keep an existing customer.

Because you’ve got to get in front of people 7-10 times before they notice you. Then another 7 times or more before they even think about taking action (calling, buying, etc.) And that’s assuming you’re getting in front of the right audience.

On top of that, it’s often hard to track results from attraction tactics.

Coke has no idea how many people, if any, buy more soda after watching their Super Bowl commercials. But they can afford to spend a ton of money just building and maintaining brand familiarity. Most small business owners can’t.

Rarely recommend my clients even invest in straight attraction tactics. Because the other two kinds of tactics—“conversion” and “retention”—provide far more bang for the buck. Plus, conversion tactics can usually do double duty as attraction tactics anyway.

The 3 types of marketing tactics every business should use

To really make your marketing work magic, you need to use a mix of:

  1. Attraction tactics to get you noticed, develop brand recognition, and increase familiarity
  2. Conversion tactics to get people to take action, call, sign up or buy
  3. Retention tactics to keep you in touch with past customers, and ideally turn them into repeat customers and referral sources

Converting the masses

Basically, conversion tactics get you to take some kind of action. They convert cold prospects into warm prospects, or prospects into customers.

The best examples are in direct response marketing…

Any letter or postcard that says “Put a sticker here…Send this back in…Order this…Do that.” is engaging in conversion marketing.

An ad that says, “Call now for your free report on…” is looking for you to take action. Conversion again.

Even a link on a Website that says “Click here to learn more about _______” is a conversion tactic.

Effective conversion is a very, very good thing because it weeds out the uninterested, helps you build a list, and often results in sales.

Don’t forget about retention

The final category of tactics is retention. This is where most entrepreneurs fail miserably.

It’s easy to spend so much time focused on getting new customers you forget about ones you already have. And before you know it, they’ve forgotten about you too.

Yet retention tactics are usually the easiest, most effective and least expensive to implement. After all, you don’t have to tell past clients who you are, or explain the value of what you offer. If they were happy the first time they did business with you, chances are they’d feel good about coming to you again—or referring someone else.

You just need to follow up by creating a system for staying in touch and top of mind. Send out a regular newsletter…Write thank you cards… Hold special events…Call people personally. Whatever.

The bottom line is, you can’t just advertise and sit back hoping people decide to call or come in. If you want to turbo-charge your business growth, you need to take control with a mix of attraction, conversion and retention marketing tactics. Once you do, your sales will soar.

Copyright 2008 SuccessStream/Stacy Karacostas. All Rights Reserved.

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